The capital's 13 'Biking Boroughs' are to get £4m of funding to be spent over three years until March 2014. TfL's director of better routes and places, Ben Plowden, explains: "Biking Boroughs aims to introduce simple, locally focused solutions that encourage residents to consider, for each journey, whether a bike could be used." He continues: "thousands of short trips made in outer London every day have the potential to be cycled".
London Assembly member Jenny Jones, from the Green Party, has criticised Mayoral cycling investments in the past, arguing that "London’s cycling revolution has been stalled for the last two years as the Mayor failed to finish the London Cycle Network, which would have created hundreds of linked-up cycle routes throughout London... the one big project that was on the verge of delivering a huge advance for cycle safety, especially in outer London". She continues: "Expenditure on cycling has gone up, but with the exception of some good work by a few local authorities, little extra was acheived".
My opinion is somewhere in between. Encouraging people in outer London to cycle short journeys by bicycle is very worthwhile, but it should not come at the expense of providing a proper Greater London Cycle Network and Map. All the bases need to be covered, such that short, medium and longer journeys can all be undertaken by bicycle (or, indeed, electric bicycle) in the capital.
It's not as if the cost is prohibitive: it's been estimated by LCN Development Manager Brian Deegan that Simon Parker's London Cycle Map could be implemented for just £50,000 per borough - yearly wages for a couple of traffic wardens. Then, of course, a proper London Cycle Map would have the knock-on effect of encouraging more people to cycle local journeys, so the project would enhance TfL's Biking Boroughs agenda, and vice versa. What are we waiting for?